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Foster Urges Congress To Extend Unemployment Benefits

Dec 11, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) became a cosponsor of H.R. 3546, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2013.  The legislation would renew the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for an additional year.  If no action is taken, on December 28th, 1.3 million Americans, including 20,000 military veterans, will immediately lose their unemployment benefits.  In 2014, 3.6 million additional people will also lose their unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks. 

In Illinois, an estimated 230,500 people would lose their unemployment benefits through 2014.

The legislation would effectively extend current law through 2014, providing unemployed Americans with a vital lifeline as they continue to recover from the recession. 

An identical bill has been introduced in the Senate.

“Our economy is still recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression,” said Foster. “Now is not the time to cut off this important lifeline.  It is critical that we extend unemployment benefits and prevent 1.3 million Americans still searching for employment from having their safety nets pulled out from under them on December 28th.”

Even after 45 consecutive months of private-sector job growth, and reaching the lowest unemployment rate in 5 years, we still have work to do to reach pre-crisis employment levels. 

Average weekly unemployment benefits have already been dropped $42 to $256 a week due to sequestration. 

Not only does unemployment insurance help those struggling to find employment, it helps our economic recovery by supporting consumer demand.  It’s estimated that failing to extend unemployment benefits would cost 240,000 jobs in 2014, including 13,345 jobs in Illinois.  Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office and JP Morgan estimate that failure to extend benefits would lower GDP by .2 to .4 percentage points.

More information on the economic benefits of extending unemployment insurance is available here.